Holiday Planning Checklist 2016

     Holiday Planning Checklist 2016Welcome to my Holiday Planning 2016 series. Throughout November and December, I’m going to have several posts covering all the preparations needed for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. I used to get really overwhelmed by everything I needed to do, but now, at the beginning of November, I spend about an hour and make a plan to simplify it. Then I put everything on my planner and go through the plan, step by step, and one day at a time. 

     My goal here is to really help you with this holiday season, so that you’ll get everything done, not get overwhelmed, and actually enjoy the season, every step of the way. I’ll take you through the very same process that I use to stay organized and really make the most of the holidays.

     The very first step is to make a master holiday plan. This is the master checklist that takes you all the way from November to New Year’s Day. Later, we’ll get into specific details for each step in the process.


Week 1: November 1-6

  • List ALL holiday to-dos and put each task in your calendar or planner on a specific day. Use this checklist as a guideline.
  • Remember the real reason we celebrate Christmas and make it a priority to attend a Christmas program at your church or your kids’ school. Put it on your calendar.
  • Put on your calendar all other holiday events that you already know about such as family get-togethers, work parties, and special events.
  • Write a master gift list. Set a budget for total gifts and a specific amount for each person.
  • Plan your Christmas shopping trips by setting a start date and a date you want to be finished. Then, plan one or two shopping days each week. Put these shopping days on your calendar. (I’ll have more on this later.)

Week 2: November 7-13

  • Start Christmas shopping.
  • Write menu and grocery list for Thanksgiving.

Week 3: November 14-20

  • Buy turkey and non-perishables for Thanksgiving.

Week 4: November 21-27 Thanksgiving Week

  • Finish buying groceries for Thanksgiving.
  • Clean the house.
  • Prepare and cook some food items. 
  • Write a cooking timeline for Thanksgiving Day.
  • Get dining room table ready and add centerpiece or other table decorations.
  • Thanksgiving Day: Cook, Eat, Family Time
  • Plan Christmas shopping for Black Friday.
  • Christmas shop during Black Friday sales.
  • Put up Christmas tree and decorations.

Week 5: November 28-December 4

  • Finish all Christmas shopping.
  • Buy stocking stuffers.
  • Start making Christmas candies and cookies.

Week 6: December 5-11

  • Mail Christmas cards and gifts for out-of -town family and friends.
  • Work on baking and give some out as gifts.

Week 7: December 12-18

  • Make sure you have all gifts and stocking stuffers bought.
  • Wrap presents.
  • Write menu and grocery list for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
  • Buy non-perishables for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and any other parties. 
  • Finish all baking.

Week 8: December 19-25 Christmas Week

  • Clean the house.
  • Buy all groceries for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and the rest of the week.
  • Make special foods and snacks for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
  • Christmas Eve: Special time with family and friends
  • Christmas Day: Gifts, Dinner, Family time

Week 9: December 26-January 1 New Year’s 

  • Make special plans for New Year’s Eve to go out or stay home with family or friends. 
  • Plan a special outfit if going out.
  • Plan special snacks and maybe a movie or game night if staying home.
  • New Year’s day or later: Put away tree and decorations.
  • Make goals and plans for the new year and write on your new blank calendar or planner. Be sure to write in all birthdays, anniversaries, and special events.


Christmas 2016

     This is my basic master checklist for the holiday season. Please remember to add in other things for your own individual plans, such as family, work, or neighborhood parties and get-togethers. Also, plan at least one or two nights a week for family nights at home. That’s a great time for getting everybody together and watching your favorite Christmas movies. 

     I hope this helps you get started on all your holiday planning. Be sure and come back for upcoming posts to help get through the season and enjoy every second of it! I’ll have more posts coming up for Christmas gift shopping strategies, Thanksgiving week, preparing for guests, decorating for Christmas, party planning,  cooking and baking, holiday fashion, sticking to a Christmas budget, and much more. Please leave comments below and let me know what areas you struggle with the most during this season. Then, I’ll cover it in my upcoming posts.

     Have a wonderful holiday season!


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